HISTORY AND HERITAGE
In March 1803, Township of Bury was established and thus marked the beginning of the colonization of the area. The colonization process was slow and much of the surveyed land was not exploited right away. However, a few “squatters” settled and cleared some land that had not been granted to them in and around the Township of Bury.
In 1832, the British American Land Company (BALCO) bought up the remaining unsold surveyed land in the St. Francis District, including the entire Township of Bury. To speed up settlement of the land, BALCO undertook a promotional campaign and built houses and roads, an example being the road from Sherbrooke to Bury. BALCO also established two villages in the Township of Bury, Robinson and Victoria. The objective was to populate the township with European colonists, primarily from Britain. Many of the colonists were quite poor and were able to acquire their land by labouring in exchange for payment. Starting in 1834 and up until 1837, there was a significant influx of immigrants to the Township of Bury. In 1836, some sources estimate the population at 2000, mostly families originating form England. The village of Robinson thrived, whereas the village of Victoria no longer existed by 1838.
Between 1838 and 1848, some Scottish families settled in the Township of Bury. However, according to Municipal archives from 1851, approximately ten family names of Scottish descent can be found. During the second half of the 19th century, a few Norwegian families came to establish themselves in the Township of Bury.
These colonists worked together to clear land and to develop the economy of Bury. Agriculture was the predominant economic activity. The exploitation of the forest and its transformation allowed for small businesses to be established. Thus, three sawmills were in operation by 1851. With the abundance of raw materials other businesses were established, an example being a carriage, wagon and sleigh manufacturer. The arrival of the International Railway in 1874 helped consolidate the economic development that continued up until the end of the Second World War.
As with any growing community, different aspects of society were developed as well. Schools were built and several social and community organizations were created. Religious life was also established at the turn of the 19th century. At the time, in the Township of Bury, there were seven churches of various denominations including Anglican, Catholic and Methodist.
The wealth created by the diversity of the settlers and the abundance of wood available at the time allowed for the construction of magnificent heritage buildings which can still be admired today. These beautiful homes bore witness to a vibrant and growing community. Walk through the streets and admire the unique architectural styles.